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Graduation Testimony

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					                                  Graduation Testimony
                                 Key Verse: Matthew 2:2

              “We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.”

   There are three important lessons I have learned during my time at UWM:
   1) Partying and drinking every week is boring and redundant.
   2) It is important to juggle your work life, school life, and social life so that you
      won’t drive yourself insane.
   3) Life is meaningless without God.

    Many college students generally figure out the first two lessons some time halfway
through their time spent at college, but not all are blessed with hearing the spoken words
of Jesus. When I began my life at college, I didn’t have any urge at all to hear about
God’s promise in Jesus, nor for that matter did I want to devote my time to studying the
Bible. I wanted to live the kind of college life that one sees in the movies, one that
consisted of going to wild parties and having non-stop fun. However, life is far different
than it is in the movies, and in fact for the most part, when I wasn’t working or studying,
I was generally sleeping. It wasn’t until my third year at college that I first heard God’s
word. One day Pastor Paul Dang approached me in the hallway and he asked me if I was
interested in Bible study. I figured, “Why not?” If anything, if I got bored with the
subject I could always give up. And at first that’s how Bible study went, I studied on and
off with Shepherd Andrew Mork. Then after about a year, the Bible study came to a
temporary halt. However, I kept running into Pastor Paul in the union, and after a while
decided maybe it was time to begin Bible study. Pastor Paul proved to be one persistent
fellow; he didn’t give up on me, despite my reluctance at times.

     I often felt that I didn’t deserve God’s love or patience. There are far better people
better equipped than myself who can handle God’s word. However, when reading the
Gospel of Luke, there was a parable I came across called The Parable of the Lost Son. In
it, Jesus tells about two sons who live with their father. The younger son decides he wants
to set out on his own, and asks his father for his share of the estate. The father gives his
son the money, and the son sets out on his own. The younger son squanders all his money
on needless things and it isn’t long before he finds himself broke. He takes a job feeding
pigs for a citizen in the city. The son comes to his senses and decides to come back to his
father; he decides that when he sees his father he will say, “Father, I have sinned against
heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one
of your hired men.” The son sets off to see his father.

    When the father sees his younger son coming, he runs out, throws his arms around his
son and kisses him. The son is surprised by his father’s response and tells him that he is
not worthy to be called his son. However, the father dresses his son in his finest robes and
holds a feast in his honor. The older son hears about his younger brother’s return and is
infuriated over the fact that his father is treating his younger brother so good.
    He says to his father, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed
your orders. Yet you never once gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my
friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes
comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.”

    The father says, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive
again; he was lost and is found.” If I had to choose one passage in the Bible that fills me
with hope it would be this one. The Parable of the Lost Son is a story I can relate to,
because for a time I was a lost son. My way of thinking was very limited. My parents
supported me a great deal through college, yet for the most part I shrugged off their
support. I didn’t feel like I owed them any debt, because I was a college student, I was
out to make a difference in the world. However, college can be a scary place when you
have no one there to support you. It wasn’t until I moved away from my parents that I
could appreciate all that they have done for me. They could have kicked me out of the
house, told me to fend for myself, but they have supported me. And I am grateful for that.

    The same applies to God. I felt I didn’t need the support of God. I didn’t need to think
about Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind. I took both God and Jesus for granted. However, I
then began to see how aimless life is without a God. People who I thought were my
friends disappeared completely from my life; the parties that I once found to be fun were
now boring and predictable, and in the college world it is never guaranteed that you will
get the classes you want. I was on the verge of slipping into a world of fatalism, but after
reading about Jesus, I realize that all my problems are nothing compared to the suffering
Jesus endured. Jesus was the perfect son, he did everything his father told him to, and he
did it all for the salvation of mankind. There was not a selfish bone in his body. Despite
constant betrayal he received from the disciples; he still opened their hearts to them. Any
one is worthy to receive the love of Jesus, as long as they are willing to open their hearts
up to him. I am far from being the perfect Christian, I often have a hard time writing
testimonies, coming to service, and often it is hard for me to grasp verses in the bible.

    However, the one thing I know without a doubt is that Jesus was the son of God, and
that he died for our sins. His suffering, resurrection and forgiveness give me hope. I am
no longer a fatalist. I have been given a purpose in life to become a better Christian, to
learn God’s word, and to give hope to my fellow man. I pray to God that I may do his
word justice, and that I may become a great man in his eyes. I pray to God that after
graduation I continue to study his word, and be inspired by it. I pray to God that every
one I encounter can be blessed by God’s word. Like the Magi, I have come from afar (not
nearly as far as the Magi) to worship Jesus. I pray that I can continue to do so in the
future.

    I thank God that he blessed my college life with getting to know his word through
Bible study. I thank God that through Bible study, that I was given a goal in life. I don’t
think had I ever gotten to know Jesus that I would still be leading an aimless life. With
Jesus there is hope. There is a reason to look forward to the future, and to go out and do
your best. Bible study has made me realize that there are more things important in life
than praise from your friends, making money, and finding a career. These things are
important, but they are meaningless in the long run. Money can buy your material goods,
but it can’t buy you happiness, forgiveness, or salvation. The friends who praise you one
day may turn their backs on you the next day, and a career is something that can support
you up until your death. Jesus, on the other hand, is eternal. He is always with mankind,
and through faith and devotion, you will be united with Jesus at your death. This is a far
more rewarding picture than working at a job that can only take you so far in life. I wish
to offer up my heart, my devotion, and my life to Jesus, just like the Magi offered up
gold, myrrh, and incense as gifts to the baby Jesus. These are the three finest gifts I can
think of giving to the Lord, and I pray that Jesus gives me the strength, faith, and patience
to make good on my offerings.

One Word: Jesus is the King, worthy of my worship.

				
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